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And the first is this-If your major propofition in your first argument, and on which you reft the main defence of your fubject, be true, it deftroys every argument which you have brought, or can bring, against close communion. Your propofition is this, "The church is the pillar and ground of the truth."

Now, Sir, this pillar fays, and uninterruptedly testifies, for the first fifteen hundred years of the Chriftian era, and ever fince, for aught you have proved to the contrary,

1. That gofpel baptifm is immerfion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft.

2. That baptifm is a divinely appointed prerequifite to the communion at the Lord's table. Here we draw this conclufion, that the pillar of the truth not only juftifies the Baptifts for their close communion, but requires them to practise it, and reproves you and your denomination for oppofing.

The fecond particular is this-Before you fhall again publickly blame the Baptifts for refufing communion with your denomination, you ought to prove, either first, that you be long to the visible church of Jefus Chrift, or fecondly, that the fupper is to be administered to thofe who are out of it; the last you will not advocate; to establish the first, you must prove one of thefe two things,-either firft, that the brethren of your denomination are baptized, which you cannot do, or fecondly, that unbaptized perfons belong to the visible

church, which you will find equally difficult to afcertain.

3. Another thing in your pamphlet, worthy of your obfervation, is, that through the whole of it you have taken rather too much for granted, and in no place proved the only thing in difpute between your denomination and the Baptifts. The difpute between us and you is very fimple; it is just this-We fay, you have never commenced members of the visible kingdom of Chrift, in his inftituted way: prove that you have, and the difpute between you and us is ended, or the blame is our's.

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LETTER VI.

Open Communion to all who keep the Ordinances as Chrift delivered them: but clofe, or confined, Communion from all others, defended.

DEAR SIR,

IT is no pleafing task to the Baptifts to be obliged to fault those whom they love as brethren; but love and duty to your Lord and their's conftrain them to contend earnestly for a part of the faith, which you deny. It is your refufing to keep the ordinances as they were delivered to the churches, which occafions the whole. Were the difobedience our's, the beft which it would become us to do, would be patiently to be blamed, and speedily to reform. The blame is not on our fide, yet we are not angry to be heavily cenfured by our erring and deficient brethren. Nor does it of right belong to us to defend our practice, before you prove it to be cenfurable. But fince you confider yourselves juftifiable in beginning and profecuting a ftrife with us, on account of our apoftolical and uninterrupted practice, we would act the Chriftian part, and give you the reafons.

You ought ever to remember, that we had no hand in beginning this ftrife among brethren; nor have we any hand in prolonging it, any further than carefully keeping the ordinances of Jefus Chrift does this. The difpute on clofe communion could never have had birth, had

not fome profeffed Chriftians refufed to be baptized.

Before we begin any regular defence of the close communion practice, it is but reasonable, that both fides fhould have a clear view of what is meant by it. The perfect idea of clofe communion, in the prefent controversy, is, The actual communion at the Lord's table is to be con

fined to baptized believers.

This definition, you, Sir, and every difputant on your fide of the queftion, ought to grant explicitly. By keeping a full view of the controverfy out of fight, you may confuse many of your readers, but can adminifter folid conviction to none.

Indeed, Sir, we do but trifle with the credulity of the public, till we will meet the question without difguife. Should your denomination contend that they are baptized, let them bring forth their ftrong arguments, and when they fhall have established that controverted point, the prefent will be established in your favour at once. But the fact is, you cannot prove yourselves ever to have been baptized; and it is on this account, and on this only, that you contend with us about clofe communion.

The fair, the honeft, the fimple queftion before us is this:

Are baptized believers the only proper fubjects of communion at the Lord's table?

We take the affirmative of the question, you the negative.

We fay, that no unbaptized believer hath any gofpel liberty to communicate at the ordi

nance of the fupper; you affirm that fome have, and that baptifm is not a gospel prerequifite.

You have produced your arguments, and we frankly confefs, that not one of them conftrains us to believe, or hath a right, in our judgment, to blame us for not believing. Had you produced the fame arguments, with a direct view to prove your membership in the invifible church, and fo fit fubjects of baptifm; and, upon this principle, requefted to be, agreeably to gofpel rules, inducted into the vifible church, your arguments would have been in point, and would doubtlefs have, in numberlefs inftances, produced conviction. But, Sir, good arguments for one fubject will not prove another, to which they do not appertain.

You have brought many good things to view, and offered fufficient evidence on feveral fubjects; but on the only fubject in debate, you have not been happy enough to find an argument which touches it. We by no means charge the deficiency to any want of penetration or piety in the writer; for what is wanting cannot be numbered.

Should our arguments and obfervations on the other fide, be equally inconclufive, we muft, after having confused the minds of fome, ftirred up the evil difpofition of more, and rendered fervices, perhaps to none, leave the fubject where we found it; continually advocated and conftantly oppofed,

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Before we present our arguments, one obfervation more ought to be made: it is this-We

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